Former Kindred Healthcare CEO Ben Breier brings operational expertise to Partners Group

'I have been in healthcare for about 30 years with a diverse background of running complicated healthcare businesses,' Breier told PE Hub.

Partners Group will announce later this morning that it has hired Ben Breier, the former CEO of Kindred Healthcare, who famously led the $4.1 billion sale of the healthcare provider to health insurer Humana and private equity firms TPG Capital and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe in a take-private deal that closed in 2018. He also orchestrated the subsequent sale of Kindred to LifePoint Health, backed by Apollo Global Management, at the end of 2021, at which point he left the company.

PE Hub conducted an exclusive interview with Breier about how he’ll be bringing his experience to bear at Partners.

“I have been in healthcare for about 30 years with a diverse background of running complicated healthcare businesses,” Breier said. “I have run or managed the largest scale verticals inside of healthcare.”

The initial Kindred Healthcare deal was “very complicated as it not only required the go-private action, but also included an immediate split of the company at close,” according to Breier.

Breier chose Partners Group for a variety of reasons.

“I have been on the portfolio side of the PE world for a couple of decades, developed meaningful relationships with so many of the different people and firms out there,” Breier said. “I also developed my own view on how those people think about the world, adding value and what to do with assets. I think I am best at execution and operational excellence, with a balanced approach of quality, compliance and deep understanding of the regulatory side.

“As I started to explore my own options, I got to know many of the senior leaders there, and the more I met with them, the more I came to like many of the things they are all about in terms of culture, mission and values,” he said.

Partners has been exploring the growth of healthcare in the US, and Breier saw a good fit between the two.

“I then, did some searching within their portfolio companies, and it just seemed like to me, the things I like to do, and the things they want to do around finding opportunities and creating value were a good match.”

The firm’s approach resonated with Breier.

“They do years of thematic research on a host of verticals inside of healthcare and life sciences, with the idea being very deep in terms of research so that when the time comes that they find an interesting opportunity, they can move quickly on making the investment.”

Breier expects to do a lot of listening and learning in the early days of the new job to “understand the inner workings of the firm but also to have an ear towards the existing portfolio companies and get a sense of where things are moving.”

He plans to reach out to people and companies he knows but also “develop and cultivate new relationships.”